What is the difference between Sympathy and Empathy?

There are distinctive differences between these two words/feelings. My interpretation of Sympathy and Empathy are:

  1. Empathy – having the ability to experience what another person is feeling during a particular situation, happening, etc. Being able to feel and associate by caring and comprehending their suffering. It is a deeper feeling and more personal to the empath when this happens.
  2. Sympathy – having the ability to understand and show caring toward those who are experiencing tragedy or a terrible situation.

This is what I found online at diffen.com. This is more comprehensive than my feelings.

I consider myself an empathic and sympathetic person. Each time I hear about a tragedy, see a sad commercial or horrific news on TV I feel a deep rift inside that makes me hold my breath. It can be mentally and physically exhausting! My husband can’t believe how I can feel so deeply about strangers in the news or something that happens in a sad movie or even a touching commercial.

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If there is anything to do with children; deaths or heartache, I will openly cry. I can’t even watch America’s Got Talent without crying at every contestant’s story of heartache and/or tragedy. I always have a few tissues at the ready when I turn the program on. Sigh!

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My children try not to tell me something that will make me cry. They know how sensitive I am to everything. I need to stay positive with positive people around me; that helps.

Any sickness in my family can make me feel the pain of those affected. There is a person who I am close to that is suffering right now. I pray for her every day and feel her pain so much that I think that is why I have been sick with a virus for almost a month. The pain is there for me as an empath.

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Growing up I felt this way for as long as I can remember. Any one who was bullied in school I took aside and befriended to give them a feeling of support. I was bullied at times too; reason why I knew how it felt.

With my middle-grade books I touch on bullying in two of my MT/PT/YA series – Davey & Derek Junior Detectives and Abby & Holly. I also let children know by my life lessons in my children’s books about how important it is to be kind and caring to others and that differences could be accept and bullying should never be tolerated.

MG/PT/YA books are available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

Davey & Derek 1 & 2

MG/PT/YA books are available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

Not everyone can be empathic towards others. It isn’t something you can learn. You can learn to be somewhat sympathetic to others though or at least you could fake it to some degree. Empathy cannot be faked.

If you have a child who is an empath please help to understand by being sympathetic to their feelings; let them know you are there for them; and listen to their concerns. It is difficult for others to understand how an empath feels but some degree of sympathy may help.

I don’t proclaim to know everything about being an empath except how I feel and react to others’ feelings. It can be an overload at times to take on too many feelings. Blessings to all who are suffering.

In my recent series, Branyrd the Angel, I share how Branyrd feels about helping others and how she deals with the empathic messages that overload her psyche. Her missions are difficult for me to create and even more so to solve in some way. This series is 18+ but young adults can handle it, I think – 15+.

Novels for 18+ books are available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble and also by clicking on covers to the right of this post.

I impart some of myself into each of my books. In this series above I try to heal the hurt and solve the problems of the world. I only wish that I could do that for real by waving a magic wand over all the issues. Watch for Book 2 in this series coming in March or sooner.

Thank you for listening to me. I hope you are doing well. I appreciate your stopping by to read this post. Your kind support is needed and reviews are always welcome.

Blessings & Hugs! Stay Safe, Stay Well and God Bless!


Janice Spina aka J.E. Spina

Award-Winning Author

Jemsbooks for All Ages!









About jjspina

Janice is an multi-award-winning author with 42 books: 20 children's books for PS-Gr 4, 12 middle-grade/preteen, two young adult books, written under Janice Spina, and 7 novels, and a short story collection written under J.E. Spina. She is also a writer of poetry, blogger, avid reader, reviewer and a copy editor. Janice has always loved writing and started very young writing poetry, then stories. Her books have received 36 Book Awards and a few finalists awards. All Janice's books are available on Amazon.com, Kindle, B&N and other online book sites. One of her sports' poems was published in The Lawrence Eagle Tribune in October of 2008. She is currently working on book 3 of a YA fantasy series an and book 2 in an angel series. There will be six books in all in this series. She hopes to work on a series of four books in a crime/mystery genre that will be offsprings of her thriller, Hunting Mariah. There are books in the works about a dog for ages YA. Her hobbies are crocheting, sewing, walking to keep fit, hula hooping, tap dancing, going to the movies with her husband, and spending time with her five grandchildren. Janice loves to hear from readers and appreciates reviews. Sign up on her blog http://jemsbooks.blog for a copy of her newsletters under Contact Me. She lives in New Hampshire with her husband who is her illustrator and cover creator.
This entry was posted in Angel, Davey & Derek Junior Detectives Series, Sympathy and Empathy, The Misunderstood Angel (Branyrd the Angel Series Book 1), Writing, book reviews and publishing, poetry, children's books, YA and novels and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to What is the difference between Sympathy and Empathy?

  1. To be fully understood, empathy must be experienced. Of course, therein lies the issue. Peace be with you, my friend.

  2. Jan Sikes says:

    It is difficult to figure out how to process, then learn to manage being an empath. But from your writing, it seems you’ve got a good handle on it. Thanks for sharing!

  3. noelleg44 says:

    The terms do overlap in their meaning somewhat, but I think empathy is much more deeply felt. And it can be a problem to take on the tragedies of the world.

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